Tag Archives: The Other 90%

Do You Suffer from a Motivation Deficit?

There are business books that deal with practically every business issue you can imagine.  But there is one theme that never disappears, that is perpetually resurrected, because it deals with such a basic human problem.  It goes by a lot of names:  motivation; self-improvement; self-help.  The idea is simple – how can I get better at what I do? — every day.  Over and over again, I need to improve…myself.

And there are two parts to this getting better battle.  One part is skill development.  The other part is, where will I find the energy/focus/motivation to get better?

I recently re-read my handout to a book I presented back in July, 2001:  The Other 90%:  How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life by Robert W. Cooper.  The book reminds us all that we simply are not living up to our possibilities, our capacities, our capabilities.  We can get better at what we do! We can do better at our job, at our relationships, at our lives.

The book is filled with quotes like these:

“What if every day I had questioned yesterday’s definition of my best?  What if I’d listened to my own heart instead of their words.  Then I might have kept looking deeper and giving the world more of the best that was hidden inside me.  All of us are mostly unused potential.”  (Hugh Cooper Sr., the author’s grandfather)

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  (Nelson Mandela)

“The world belongs to those with the most energy.”  (Alexis de Tocqueville)

First thing Monday morning, do you wake up envisioning – “Another week of stress and strain at work” – or “Another chance to do more of the things I love”?

As Hegel observed, “We may affirm that absolutely nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”

No matter who you are, no matter how hard your life has been, no matter what challenges you are facing right now, every moment you have within your reach what my grandfather knew we all have – the opportunity to shape what you are becoming.

Here’s what I think. People who only listen to motivational speakers, people who only read self-help books, are probably not tackling the skill development they need to tackle.  Motivation help alone does not cut it.

But, on the other hand, we probably could all do better than we are doing.  After the skill development, there is an attitude adjustment and improvement, a raising of the energy bar, that we all need to tackle.  Over and over again.  So maybe we should read an occasional book that in one way or another reminds us that we really could and probably should become all that we can be.

The Other 90% is a good book to choose.


The book is filled with practical suggestions, such as how to take a short break during the day that helps you renew your energy.  You can purchase my synopsis of this book, with handout + audio, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.

In an age of stress, you can incorporate “energy builders” into your life

The Other 90%

The Other 90%

It’s Monday morning.  Time for a Monday morning quote:

First thing Monday morning, do you wake up envisioning – “Another week of stress and strain at work” – or “Another chance to do more of the things I love”?

This is one of the many fine quotes from the book by Robert Cooper, The Other 90%:  How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about issues of time/energy management lately.  Recently I wrote this post:  Is Everybody Tired, or is it Just Me? — Energy and Time Management in the Midst of Challenging Times.  And I sense that a whole lot of people are tired.

I teach a few classes at one of the Dallas County Community Colleges as a member of the adjunct faculty.  I am meeting quite a few fellow faculty members who teach the maximum number of classes, and then they also teach in other colleges outside of the district.  They run from one engagement to another, piecing together a living.  Independents (like me) especially have this problem.  And the constant shift; the fact that they do not “go” to work, but they go from task to task, from “job” to “job,” adds to the stress.

But it’s not just independents.  The people with “normal” jobs are equally stressed.  Have you seen the latest productivity numbers.  America’s productivity is up, but so is unemployment.  The same (actually fewer) people are churning out more and more work.  Productivity is up because individuals are doing more and more.  Here’s the report summary:

The Washington Post carries an AP story this morning reporting that productivity rose by an annual rate of more than 6 percent during the second quarter, while labor costs plummeted. As the story notes, productivity, or output per hour of labor, is often “a key ingredient for rising living standards,” but in recent months companies have been using the output gains to cut costs and bolster their bottom lines. A related Wall Street Journal story offers further explanation. “The net result” of businesses squeezing more work out of fewer employees, the Journal writes, is “rising unemployment, stagnant wages, sagging consumer confidence — and better-than-expected corporate profits.”

So, for this Monday morning, I present a list of suggestions, things to do to help with the stress.  These come from the Cooper book, The Other 90%.  And when I remember to do these, I can tell you that they help.  Here’s the list:

• The seven elements of  a “break”:
• Deepen and relax your breathing.
• Change your view and catch some light.
• Re-balance your posture and loosen up.
• Sip ice water.
• Enjoy a moment of humor.
• Add some inspiration.

• Start the day right:  without a bang…
• Awaken without a jarring alarm.
• Turn on the lights.
• Get at least five minutes of relaxed physical activity.
• Enjoy several bites of a great-tasting breakfast.

Very practical.  And I have tried to incorporate a few of them.  For example, I have changed my alarm to a soothing “harp” choice (from my iPhone.  It really is less jarring).  I do sip ice water (he recommends cold, ice water .  I don’t know why – but it works).  And I periodically click on one of Andrew Sullinvan’s “mental health breaks” links (not always humorous, but always a nice distraction).  Here’s one.  And for inspiration, I read constantly — including the blog posts by Bob Morris on this blog

So – on a Monday morning, think about how you can begin and spend your week with passion and energy.

Good luck.


• You can order the synopsis of my presentation of The Other 90%, at our companion web site, 15 Minute Business Books.